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Evoke Warriors finish inaugural fitness program

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 9:31 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -We have fantastic numbers to report in our final installment of our series, following the inaugural Evoke Warriors fitness program. The 20 Nevadans who joined are all currently battling cancer or received that life-altering diagnosis. As a team, 328 pounds have been shed, along with 236 and a half inches!

“I got guns...I didn’t have guns when I was younger,” Prostate Cancer Survivor Ed Heywood exclaims! The joy is all over his face! He graduates from the fitness program losing 17 pounds of fat, gaining 5 pounds of muscle, and dropping almost 16 and a half inches overall, as he details, “I’ve lost a lot of weight, I’m in much better shape. but I also get reminded that I’m not the younger Ed when I start to think I can do some things I used to do when I was young...no. But I just feel more alert, more focused, more alive. Anybody, especially a male that is dealing with cancer or a survivor of cancer or fighting cancer...I can’t think of a better way to get the support to deal with it, than to be in a program like this.”

“The person I was when I came into this program was very different. I lacked a lot of confidence and I really had no idea who I was, Kerry Kelly tells us. She’s a Breast Cancer Survivor who also has tremendous stats, shredding away 16 pounds of fat, 13 total inches and even increasing her push ups by 32. She adds, “Kerry, six months later, is somebody who does have a little bit of fire and I’m living my life the way I want to live it. I’m feeling healthy, I’m feeling active.”

On September 11, loved ones gathered in south Reno to marvel at their magnificent trek towards a healthier lifestyle. With Heywood being the only man to sign up...makes sense that his reveal costume was inspired by The Lone Ranger! “Supporting one another. it was more of a joy mentally than it was physically,” he says.

“The pain that I felt, knowing I wasn’t going to see these people everyday was crazy. I feel like I truly gained 19, plus 4 trainers, so 23 new family members,” Kelly says with tears in her eyes.

“The better sex, the really stronger sex is the females. they’re stronger. not necessarily physically, just mentally in handling stuff, just remarkable the ladies’ strength,” Heywood states.

The biggest growth and most concrete results are within. Thanks to a safe, judgement free zone even on your lowest day or roughest chemo session, with Kelly telling KOLO 8, “That was really freeing, it was just an emotional lift and weight off my shoulders, knowing I wasn’t the only one.”

A warrior is defined as someone who shows or has shown great vigor, courage or aggressiveness. (Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/warrior)

These are two of the success stories, highlighting a program that is truly just getting started.

Evoke Warriors will be returning in 2022. But organizers need your support, so that the program can remain free for cancer survivors. Sponsors are needed to help with nutrition education, mental and emotional services among other needs. Commitment is required from March through September.

“It can be stage one, we’ve had people who are stage zero...to stage four. It doesn’t matter your diagnosis was, we have a community here that is ready to help you and support you and get you through it, so don’t be shy about applying for the program,” Evoke Fitness Owner Mena Spodabalski explains.

Applications will be available to fill out starting in January and there’s already a waiting list.

You can connect with trainers or make a donation at https://www.evokewarriors.org/make-a-donation

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